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Graduate Opportunities

Biological Sciences PhD Students

The faculty-mentored apprentice teaching program is designed to expose each student to a variety of instructional environments including small group instruction in a laboratory setting as well as leading discussion sections and review sessions for lecture courses. To achieve this, students assist as a Graduate Instructional Apprentice in a total of three courses during their graduate career, which is equivalent to one year of experience. Students are expected to assist in three classes; typically, a lecture course during the second year, a laboratory course in the third year, with choice of a lecture or a laboratory course in the fourth year of the program.

A link to the application for the upcoming academic year will be sent via UC San Diego email to all Biological Sciences PhD students who need to complete program requirements to assist as a GIA. The application is typically open in June prior to the academic year of the apprenticeship. See also Graduate Instructional Apprentice Experience .

Biological Sciences MS Students

Students may apply on a quarterly basis.  Assignments are based on divisional need and are offered solely at the discretion of the Division of Biological Sciences. While an instructor may request a student as an IA, such a request does not guarantee placement, nor does it constitute an offer of apprenticeship or employment.  See Eligibility requirements below.

Students from other Departments

PhD Students from BMS/Neuro/SIO: The Division of Biological Sciences has TA service agreements for doctoral students with the Biomedical Sciences Program, the Department of Neurosciences, and the graduate program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Doctoral students in these programs should contact their graduate coordinator in the spring quarter prior to the academic year in which they would like to assist as a TA to inquire about eligibility and the application cycle. The application for students in these identified programs is typically open in June prior to the academic year.

All assignments are based on divisional need and are offered solely at the discretion of the Division of Biological Sciences. While an instructor may request a student as an IA, such a request does not guarantee placement, nor does it constitute an offer of apprenticeship or employment.

If assigned to a Biological Sciences class, Graduate students with no prior qualifying experience will be required to complete training via BGGN 500. See other Eligibility requirements below.

Graduate Students in Other Programs: Biological Sciences has a large pool of applicants within the division, both master’s and doctoral students, from which IA positions are staffed. The number of applicants far exceeds the number of open positions, so hiring of students from outside the division is rare. Students may apply through the Instructional Assistant Data Management System.  See Eligibility requirements and Quarterly Application Timelines below.

All assignments are based on divisional need and are offered solely at the discretion of the Division of Biological Sciences. While an instructor may request a student as an IA, such a request does not guarantee placement, nor does it constitute an offer of apprenticeship or employment.

If assigned to a Biological Sciences class, Graduate students with no prior qualifying experience will be required to complete training via BGGN 500. See other Eligibility requirements below.

Non-Students

Biological Sciences has a large pool of applicants within the division, both master’s and doctoral students, from which IA positions are staffed. The number of applicants far exceeds the number of open positions, so hiring of IAs from outside the division is rare. At this time, the Division of Biological Sciences is not accepting applications from non-students.

Undergraduate Students

For more information on opportunities for UC San Diego undergraduates, please visit the page on Undergraduate Opportunities.

Eligibility

Graduate students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 units (upper-division and/or graduate level) at UC San Diego during the quarter of assignment. Graduate students must be enrolled in a minimum of six units in the spring quarter to be eligible for summer positions in the following Summer Session.

Graduate students must remain in good academic standing, including, a GPA of 3.000 in upper-division and graduate course work, and not have more than eight units of F and/or U grades overall.

Some instructors may require completion of certain courses with stipulated grades. See also, Alternative Qualifying Courses

Performance Expectations

Actual duties for a particular course may vary and will be defined by the supervising instructor. Typical duties may include:

  • Attend lectures
  • Lead discussion section(s) or lab section(s)
  • Hold office hours
  • Assist with development of exams
  • With faculty oversight, develop new (written) course material for use in discussion sections/ homework/ exams/quizzes/ review sessions
  • Proctor and grade exams
  • Meet regularly with the instructor
  • Assist with course management
  • Mentor undergraduate instructional assistants
  • Other applicable duties as assigned by the instructor
  • 20 hours per week (average)

Note that IAs are not expected to reply to electronic inquiries from students at all hours or to exceed maximum workload in replying to email. Please note allowable working time (found in the offer email), work with the supervising instructor to budget time for tasks accordingly, and feel free to refer students with extensive questions to office hours and/or section time.

Performance Evaluations and Standards

All Instructional Assistants are evaluated by the instructor of the course and by the students enrolled in the course via online evaluation surveys conducted at the end of the quarter.

GIA/TA Workload

A typical Instructional Assistant assignment with the Division of Biological Sciences is a 50% appointment, or a total workload of 220 hours over 12 weeks. Most of the hours are accrued during the 10-week quarter and finals week. If required, instructors will inform IAs of the need to assist in the pre-quarter week.

BGGN 500

BGGN 500 is the class in which students enroll, receive training, and earn academic credit when assigned with no prior qualifying experience.  BGGN 500 is comprised of an in-class component led by a faculty member with expertise in evidence-based teaching methods and biology education research, as well as an apprentice teaching component.  All students enrolled in BGGN 500 attend a weekly seminar.  All BGGN 500 series grades are based upon both the seminar and practicum (instructional apprentice duties) participation.

Training

BGGN 500 is the class in which students enroll, receive training, and earn academic credit when assigned as an IA with no prior qualifying experience.  Prior qualifying experience is defined as a completed Graduate or Undergraduate Instructional Apprenticeship in a Biological Sciences class (as evidenced by a passing grade in a BISP 195 or BGGN 500), or a previously completed graduate student TA appointment at UC San Diego.

Students assisting for the first time in a lab course must also attend a one-time Safety Training for Laboratory Instructional Assistants and complete other online safety training requirements.

Employment Information

  • A Division of Biological Sciences’ team member will contact you by email if you must attend an employee sign-up session.
  • Graduate students employed in Teaching Assistant title code 2310 are covered by a  collective bargaining agreement between UC San Diego and the ASE/UAW. 
  • TAs are paid monthly. The payroll period for fall quarter is October 1-December 31 (first check November 1), for winter quarter it is January 1-March 31, and for spring quarter it is April 1-June 30.
  • Graduate students with academic appointments totaling 25% time or more are entitled to a full Graduate Student Health Insurance Premium Remission, and Tuition and Student Services Fee Remission, and other applicable benefits as set forth in the ASE/UAW Agreement. Please review the ASE/UAW Agreement for the specific eligibility requirements and amounts of each remission.
  • Names and addresses of all ASEs are released to the UAW each quarter as a condition of employment in the represented title codes.
  • See the  Division of Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs (GEPA) website for additional information concerning Academic Student Employment (ASE).

FAQs for Assigned Teaching Assistants

Enrollment and eligibility:

Graduate students must be enrolled in at least 12 units in any quarter in which they hold campus employment, including TAships.

Hiring paperwork:

Hiring must be complete prior to the start of the quarter, including verification of original identification documents. IAs who need to complete hiring paperwork will be contacted via @ucsd email. Some students may already be active in the Payroll system. In such cases, no additional paperwork is required. Please watch your @ucsd email for information on logging into UCPath (UCSD Payroll system), enrolling in direct deposit, and using the timekeeping system.

Graduate TAs are paid on a monthly schedule and they do not report time via timesheet. See Payroll Calendars for more information on the payroll schedule.

Give Special Attention: To the average number of hours per week that the assignment will entail. This information is listed in the original offer email and on the appointment notification. Increasing the maximum number of hours is not an option! TAs who believe they may exceed the maximum number of hours of assignment must consult with the supervising instructor to ensure that workload remains within the guidelines. Early communication with the supervisor is essential.

IA Resources:

The IA Resource page includes information about office hours, make-up sections, review sessions, technology, etc.

Dr. Stanley Lo is the Faculty Advisor for Instructional Assistants. The Faculty Advisor is a point of initial contact for inquiries related to professional development as an IA, science of teaching, classroom effectiveness, or other questions and concerns related to ethics, behavior, or academic integrity.

Expected duties are noted in the Performance Expectations drawer on this page.

Contacting the supervising instructor:

IAs may or may not receive direction from the supervising instructor prior to the start of the quarter. If the instructor does not reach out prior to the quarter, IAs should feel free to contact the supervising instructor via email, or to simply attend the first class meeting. Specific discussion section assignments are coordinated directly with the supervising instructor.

TA Partial Fee Remission:

TA Partial Fee Remission is requested by the student’s home department for students in qualifying employment. No action is required by students.

FAQs for Assigned Graduate Instructional Apprentices

Enrollment and eligibility:

Graduate students must be enrolled in at least 12 units in any quarter in which they hold a Graduate Instructional Apprenticeship.

Enrolling in BGGN 500, concurrent with the first GIAship:

Pre-authorization to enroll in BGGN 500 is provided prior to the start of the quarter, with instructions sent to @ucsd email. Please enroll through WebReg. BGGN 500 is required concurrent with the first GIAship. GIAs must plan to enroll in and attend one section during Weeks 1-6.

IA Resources:

The IA Resource page includes information about office hours, make-up sections, review sessions, technology, etc.

Dr. Stanley Lo is the Faculty Advisor for Instructional Assistants. The Faculty Advisor is a point of initial contact for inquiries related to professional development as an IA, science of teaching, classroom effectiveness, or other questions and concerns related to ethics, behavior, or academic integrity.

Expected duties are noted in the Performance Expectations drawer on this page.

Contacting the supervising instructor:

IAs may or may not receive direction from the supervising instructor prior to the start of the quarter. If the instructor does not reach out prior to the quarter, IAs should feel free to contact the supervising instructor via email, or to simply attend the first class meeting. Specific discussion section assignments are coordinated directly with the supervising instructor.

Hiring Information

Only available to students who have been offered a Fall 22 IA appointment and who have completed necessary hiring paperwork in advance of the meeting time.

Appointments are available during the below days/times, If all appointments are booked, students are encouraged to check back daily, as appointments open on a rolling basis. Availability is subject to change.

Schedule an Appointment

To schedule an appointment, click on the time block for your preferred day to see available appointment times. If the same time block is listed multiple times, multiple advisors are scheduling appointments during that time, and students are encouraged to check day/times in each time block to display all appointment availability.

All appointments will be offered virtually on zoom.

Please make an appointment using one of the following links depending on your session of hire:

Fall 2022

Application

Apply for Fall 2022 to Winter 2023

Quarterly Application Timelines:

Application Periods and Deadlines
For participation in: Application Opens Applicants Notified of Decision
Fall Late July Late August, prior to the Fall term
Winter Opens Week 4 of the preceding Fall quarter By week 9 of the preceding Fall quarter
Spring Opens Week 4 of the preceding Winter quarter By week 9 of the preceding Winter quarter
Summer* Weeks 2 - 4 of the preceding Spring quarter

*BGGN 500 not offered during summer -
Open to applicants with prior experience only
By week 9 of the preceding Spring quarter
Questions? Send them to biota@ucsd.edu